“If We Get New Generations to Enter the Feminist Movement…It Will be Different, It Will be Fantastic”: Youth Gender Justice Activism in Peru and Ecuador.
In Peru and Ecuador, a new generation of feminism has emerged among youth initially mobilized by professional adult feminism. However, whereas professionalized adult feminism seeks changes to government policies, youth gender justice activism seeks changes to cultural discourses and practices, especially in the family, intimate partnerships and household. In this sense, young feminists have more in common with youth in general in Latin America than professionalized adult feminists. Our paper aims to clarify why this is the case by drawing upon a grounded theory study among 21 youth gender justice activists.
We found that youth activists developed new ways of perceiving political action in response to exclusionary processes within professionalized adult feminism and contradictory processes within gender equality policies. Exclusionary processes consisted of professionalized adult feminists defining “the movement” on the basis of their own organizational structures, thereby preventing young women from joining the movement on equal terms and hindering young men from being included. These exclusionary processes were exacerbated by professionalized adult feminism’s strategic emphasis on government policies. Youth activists perceived three contradictory processes within government gender equality policies: inconsistent policy approaches and implementation, institutional practices upholding gender hierarchies, and demobilization/de-politicization of civil society. We discuss these findings in relation to current theorizing of feminist and youth movements in Latin America.